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Why Our App Development Company Is Sponsoring AvantPay Crypto Conference

Get 20% off your tickets to AvantPay19 in Washington DC by using the promo-code 3Advance20!

It has been ten years since Satoshi Nakamoto (who?) brought Bitcoin into the world, and since then, countless new cryptocurrencies and blockchains have appeared. In Startupland, this in turn has even led to initial coin offerings (ICOs) promising to crowdfund those startups behind the cryptocoin for whatever — so buy in early, and you’ll be rich, right? Not so fast.

As an app development company that works with startups every day, we’ve heard it all before: the Groupon for X, the Uber for Y. Nowadays, everyone wants their data on “the blockchain” when in reality, what you might really need is a database and a business plan. Having said that, there are fascinating and game-changing initiatives based on blockchain technology that will ripple through all of our lives eventually. With mammoth stalwart’s like Walmart investing heavily in blockchain — from supply-chain pharmaceutical tracking to food safety and of course payments — we’ve moved past the early adopter stage.

So back to AvantPay, more accurately described as the cryptography and cannabis conference.  When I wrote this blog title, I worried about who, if any, of our current or future app development clients may have a problem with the cannabis part. After all, we work with some really important nonprofits — some on the front line of cultural flashpoints where drugs and alcohol have caused pain beyond belief. 

Entrepreneurs don’t accept the status quo.

So I’ll explain why we’re involved, and more importantly, why we’re not not involved, if you’ll excuse the double negative. I’ll start with the latter — the reasons why we are not shying away from an industry despite the taboo associated with it since the middle of last century. 

The first and biggest reason why not is a personal consideration of a childhood assumption that cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to bad, bad things. I’ll address this by stating my belief that cannabis has been classified unfairly and this coupling with other true vices has led to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It has taught young people to believe that once you’re in, you’re in — “If they lied about weed, then it’s probably all a lie, so why not try…”. Finally, it seems like society has caught up. The health benefits of medical marijuana are becoming more understood and thankfully, more acceptable — a godsend to those suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, and other conditions. At a time when the pharmaceutical industry we’ve trusted has been the root cause of the nation’s opioid epidemic, nature’s first choice has returned and the world will be a better place now that the taboo is dissipating.

While the decriminalization of medical marijuana is a blessing, it brings forth a green gold rush, inspiring a wave of forward-thinking, fearless entrepreneurs — those who do not accept the old rules and who pursue a new frontier. These are the type of people we want to work with, and these are the folks who benefit most from what 3Advance has to offer: an agile, lean app development process.

Blockchain, Bitcoin, and a future of decentralization (or not)

On to crypto, or excuse my shorthand (for “crypto” means more, or potentially less in terms of lines of code), cryptocurrency. For many, this is synonymous with Bitcoin, the first decentralized blockchain currency that made it to the masses. 

Personally, as a techie, not a finance guy, I’m much more interested in the underlying technology, blockchain. Up until recently, all of your data was contained within separate systems owned by individual entities — usually a company that you were either paying for a service or receiving for free because they would sell you to advertisers. You trusted that company (yes, you did, without even knowing it) to handle transactions and record interactions legitimately. You also trusted them to be responsible and secure enough that they wouldn’t be robbed by some teenager in Idaho with a Macbook…

Anyway, with cryptocurrencies — and blockchain in general — a decentralized system with codified rules means that no one is in charge, and everyone is in charge. The digital ledger contains peer-validated transactions, and your data can be encrypted somewhere or everywhere, with a decryption key that you alone will hold. This means you’re at the mercy of no company or no government. You can imagine why the FED is worried and why China and others have cracked down already.

We’ve all heard about Bitcoin, the hero or villain on any particular day. It will make you rich, or it will lose all its value. The answer to hyperinflation, but the threat to global financial stability. They’re fascinating questions, ones I won’t pretend I have the answers to. New coins are appearing every day and others disappearing. Most will fail, but that doesn’t matter. Crypto is here to stay, and now with Libra, the company with the greatest global reach, Facebook, is now in the game. It’s laughable to equate Libra to Bitcoin — although decentralized, it is permissioned, meaning only authorized entities can validate transactions. It’s a little more like, well, a database with redundancy…but that doesn’t matter. Facebook is in and the world is watching.

So to 3Advance, blockchain is important. Libra and Bitcoin are important, so too Ethereum and anyone else left after the purge. When you specialize in the development of online marketplaces, you need to care about payments. You also need to care about user experience. The what doesn’t matter if there’s not an easy howBig players in tech and finance are working on an easy path to crypto-payments, and they bring hundreds of millions into the fold. And we’ll be ready to integrate all this with the web and mobile apps we develop every day.

User experience is the real answer

After reading AvantPay founder Joshua Radbod’s post on why he started it, he confirmed what I suspected was true — that AvantPay was the right place for 3Advance. He poignantly wrote that cryptocurrency has an adoption problem and cannabis has a payments challenge. With regulation and compliance vital for both industries, there are opportunities to collaborate and cooperate.

I will push this even further, and double down on the 3Advance edge: user experience is everything. While you embrace crypto or cannabis or any other emerging industry, you would do well to bring along those who understand human needs. New technology and new products still require customer service and a well-designed user experience. Your business requires interfaces and intelligence — be it websites or ordering apps, CRMs or reporting mechanisms. All of these need to be developed with your customers and your people in mind. And that’s where we come in.

Today, every business is a tech business. To learn how your new technology venture can thrive, get in touch. We prioritize advice over sales and will help in any way we can. What goes around comes around.

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